Last week, SolarCity unveiled its latest product – a solar panel being touted as the world’s most efficient. The new panel boasts over 22 percent module efficiency.
The Renewable Energy Test Center, a third-party certification testing provider for PV and renewable energy products, found SolarCity’s panel to have a 22.04 percent module-level efficiency. Many panels on the market today operate at between 15 and 20 percent efficiency.
The panel was also found to outperform other modules in high temperatures, contributing to its reported ability to produce 30 to 40 percent more energy on an annual basis than other panels of comparable size.
When SolarCity begins producing the panels, they will be the highest volume solar panel manufactured in the Western Hemisphere.
The company plans to start small. This month, the first modules will be produced in small quantities at SolarCity’s 100 MW pilot facility. Ultimately, the majority of the new solar panels will be produced at the 1 gigawatt facility in Buffalo, New York. SolarCity expects to be producing between 9,000 – 10,000 solar panels each day when the Buffalo plant reaches full capacity. This will keep production of the panels in the U.S.
SolarCity reports that the manufacturing process is expected to cost significantly less than that of other high efficiency panels. Time Magazine reports that this will result in lower costs for the consumer. They quote SolarCity Chief Technology Officer Peter Rive saying, “The breakthrough here is high efficiency at a lower cost. …In the past those have been opposed to one another.”